"Trying to walk in the steps of the Saviour, Trying to follow our Saviour and King; Shaping our lives by his blessed example, Happy, how happy, the songs that we bring." (Stepping in the Light, Wm. J Kirpatrick)
How much light do we need in our lives in order to be able to see where we are going? How much light do we need to be happy? Our daughter and son-in-law live in the Seattle area. I love visiting there because everything is so lush and green in color. The temperature is moderately cool year round which is very appealing to me. The people are genuinely concerned about the environment and are leaders in recycling and caring for the earth. There are many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, being close to both the mountains and the ocean. I think I would love living there and maybe retiring there.
Our daughter, though, often tells me, "Oh daddy, you don't know what it is like to live in a place where it is cloudy most of the time. We don't see the sun shine nearly as much as we see the clouds hovering over us or the rain falling." I suppose that is true, because the land would not be nearly as green if they did not get as much rain as they do. There is a part of me that thinks I could live there despite the lack of sunshine in order to enjoy all the other benefits. Then, we experience a week, as we did earlier in the winter, where we did not have sunshine for about a week. People became dismal and gloomy and longed for the sun to shine to brighten their lives. Finally, the sun came out and people were smiling and laughing and making jokes about how great it was to see the sun.
The community of the writer of the Epistle that we call I John tells his readers/listeners in the first part of his letter that "God is light and in him there is no darkness at all...if we walk in the light as he himself is the light, we have fellowship with one another..." (I John 1:5b-6a) John wanted his audience to know that God is revealed in the light that is given through the Holy Spirit and through the Community of Faith. The light that is revealed shows us how to follow the teachings of Jesus as they are revealed through the working of the Holy Spirit in and through human beings.
John wanted his community to know that if they sinned, and they would, that they could confess their sins to God and receive forgiveness. They could pray to their advocate, Jesus Christ, and forgiveness would be immediate. Confession of sin is a cleansing act that frees us from the guilt and shame and weight that sin carries with it. Confessing our sin to God allows us to admit our wrong and our intention not to repeat that wrong. Such honesty is respected by God who gives us freedom to live as forgiven and forgiving people.
Light is very important to our lives. That is why we long for it when the clouds set it. That is why people who live in Scandinavia built "light rooms" in which to sit to soak up some light during the cold, dreary, dark winter months. That is why people there celebrate the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice, on which there is daylight almost around the clock. Light reveals the truth to humans and as they attempt to follow that truth their lives become better and richer and happier.
Walk in the light, as revealed to you, and pray for more light to be revealed, and the God of Resurrection and Joy will grant to you what you seek, because God grants the prayers of those who sincerely come to God and ask for blessings that can bring about good on our behalf. Amen.